updated 01:30 pm EST, Wed November 5, 2008
Best Buy T-Mobile phones?
Based on a new report, Best Buy Mobile stores will soon offer a choice of three Nokia smartphones subsidized by contracts from wireless provider T-Mobile. Reportedly starting on November 16th, the offers will allow buyers to choose from the E71 in grey or white with a two-year T-Mobile contract for just shy of $200, instead of the unlocked, contract-free price of about $460. The N95 will cost $350 on a two-year term versus $760 retail, while the N96 will be priced at about $600, down from nearly $900 contract-free.
None of the handsets, however, will allegedly take advantage of T-Mobile's 3G data network, as they are relegated to the slower EDGE network due to the lack of a 1700MHz antenna. Buyers will not be required to get data plans with the handsets. Only participating Best Buy Mobile locations will offer the T-Mobile subsidized handsets.
Such a move would be unusual for US carriers, which typically resist selling unlocked devices directly to customers, though T-Mobile has lately loosened its software restrictions with the release of the Android-based G1, whose open-source OS allows any third-party app. [via TmoNews]